Faces of CNM: Mark Jacome Salazar
Mark Jacome Salazar, one of two full-time Navigators at CNM.

Faces of CNM: Mark Jacome Salazar

Thanks to people like Mark, becoming a CNM student is easier and faster
March 26, 2018

It’s one thing to apply for college. But it’s a whole other thing to actually register and start showing up for classes. Mark’s entire job is to complete that loop.

As one of two, full-time Navigators (along with Daniela Zamora), Mark is in constant contact with students who might get stuck. If you forget your login when you go to register, Mark can help. If you forget where to take your Accuplacer, Mark can help you make an appointment. If you need more information about FAFSA, Mark can put you in touch with the right person in Financial Aid.

“I’m here to take on any question or frustration and provide that extra level of service,” he says.

Right now, Mark is working with about 600 people, all of whom are either readmit (people returning to CNM after a hiatus) or transfer students who’ve applied for the upcoming summer term. These students are part of CNM’s third and largest Navigator pilot program, and the plan is to start offering the same services for all CNM students going forward.

To track his group, Mark has a mind-boggling spreadsheet that’s color coded and full of notes. Every single one of those students has received an email and a text from Mark asking how he can be helpful. Those that respond with questions get an immediate follow-up with answers. If he can’t answer their question because it’s too detailed, he sends the question to the appropriate person, like an academic coach.

Students who don’t respond to Mark’s original outreach continue to get follow-up emails or phone calls. Even if a particular student doesn’t need help, Mark wants to ensure they know they can get help at any point.

“Some students don’t need a lot, and that’s okay,” he says. “But we, the Navigator team, want everyone to know we’re here for them.”

There are already plenty of success stories. Mark says one of his first came with a student who wasn’t actually on his spreadsheet. That student just happened to walk into his office during new student orientation and Mark could tell he was lost.

“I just stood up and asked how I could help and that was all it took,” Mark says. “After that first day, I’ve done everything from help him find his classes on campus to help him track down a computer. He was so timid when he came in, but with a little help he’s totally flourished. I’ve checked with him a couple times and his attitude about college has totally changed. He has a lot more confidence and is ready to succeed.”

To find out more about the Navigator project on campus, please contact Miranda Evjen at mevjen@cnm.edu.